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Inverness walks – how to explore Glen Affric and Loch Ness

Inverness walks – how to explore Glen Affric and Loch Ness


The beautiful region around the city of Inverness is one of Scotland’s most famous – and not just because of a loch dwelling monster. Whether you want to go urban walking in the capital of the Highlands, visit the Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus, explore two of Scotland’s most beautiful glens at Glen Affric and Glen Strathfarrar, or discover the villages of Beauly, Drumnadrochit and Dores, go beyond a day trip and there is so much more to explore on a visit to Loch Ness. Let’s explore with my favourite Loch Ness and Inverness walks, strolls and hill climbs.

This is a paid partnership with Visit Inverness Loch Ness

10 of the best Inverness and Loch Ness Walks

Looking for walks near Inverness or walks around Loch Ness? Here are 10 of the best Loch Ness walks.

  1. Explore Allt na Criche – take a short but steep walk up from Fort Augustus through lovely and ancient woodlands following the Allt na Criche burn for one of the best views across Loch Ness. 
  2. Visit Abriachan Forest – the community-led Abriachan Forest Trust owns and manages 540 hectares of forest with miles of paths and family friendly mountain bike trails to explore. 
  3. Visit Aldorie and Dores – and explore the shores of Loch Ness at Aldourie looking out for red squirrel. 
  4. Climb to the Dog Falls on the Abhainn Deabhag river –  hike a short circuit above the falls to discover a beautiful ancient Caledonian forest and find the Coire Loch in Glen Affric. 
  5. Stroll around the Ness Islands, Inverness – explore these natural islands in River Ness in Inverness. Wind your way along the islands on a lovely hiking trail over a number of suspension bridges on one of the best Inverness walks. 
  6. Climb Meall Fuar Mhonaidh – climb up one of the loch’s surrounding hills for a fantastic view of Loch Ness from up high.
  7. Climb Ord hill, Muir of Ord – with incredible views across the Black Isle, Beauly and Cromarty, this short hillwalk climbs up above Muir Of Ord to a trig point on Cnoc Croit na Maoile.
  8. Hike the Corrieyairack Pass – hike this remote pass across the 760m high Monadhliath Mountains from Laggan on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park to Fort Augustus.
  9. Walk The Glen Affric Trail – the 11-mile circular path around Loch Affric must be one of Scotland’s most awe-inspiring walks – one for experienced hikers. 
  10. Visit Blackmuir Wood – walk the fascinating Touchstone Maze, created using 81 stones from quarries across the Highlands and Islands before visiting this beautiful woodland. 

Looking for more things to do at Loch Ness – find out more in my full guide to Loch Ness and Fort Augustus

Read more – things to do around Loch Ness

Great Loch Ness walks near Inverness for Families

Got the kids in tow? Here are my favourite child-friendly walks near Loch Ness.

  • Allt na Criche – a great short hill walk at Loch Ness suitable for kids 
  • Abriachan Forest – 540 hectares of forest with miles of paths and family friendly mountain bike trails.
  • The Ness Islands, Inverness – discover a lovely trail over a number of suspension bridges, one of the best Inverness walks. 
  • Beauly River – take a stroll alongside this pretty river to explore the town of Beauly. 
Inverness walks

Loch Ness walks – Viewpoints

Take a short scroll to one of the best Loch Ness viewpoints: 

  • The Viewcatcher Sculpture –  on a high-level route between Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit on the Great Glen Way is a great sculpture ‘catching’ the view.
  • Suidhe Viewpoint – located on the south side of Loch Ness, on a good day you can see the whole loch
  • Dores Beach and Aldourie – take in the classic view over the Loch to Urquhart Castle and the village of Drumnadrochit and explore the shores of Loch Ness.  
  • The Fair-Haired Lads Pass –  fantastic views from 500 meters up on the South Loch Ness Trail. 
  • Meall Fuar Mhonaidh – climb up one of the loch’s surrounding hills for a fantastic view of the loch from up high.
  • Old Coffin Road near Abriachan – climb up a coffin path for a great view of the loch from its northern banks. 

Inverness Mountains

Looking for a more strenuous walk? Here are the best hill walks near Inverness:

  • Meall Fuar – Mhonaidh – the most prominent summit above Loch Ness and in good weather is a simple 5.5 mile / 4 hour walk (Graham – 699 m high)
  • Meall Dubh – climb up this hill to the west of Fort Augustus for views of the mountains of Kintail and Knoydart and Loch Cluanie (Corbett – 789m height) 
  • Ben Wyvis – the closest Munro to Loch Ness is Ben Wyvis, a huge Munro which can be seen across firth of Beauly. Meaning Awesome Mountain, Ben Wyvis is a simple climb in Summer conditions (Munro 1,046m height) 

Find out more about hillwalking in Scotland with my beginner’s guide to bagging a Munro

Waterfall walks near inverness

Plodda Falls 

Nearby to pretty Cannich is the Plodda Falls, a 40-metre high waterfall. Explore the falls and surrounding beautiful Douglas Fir woodlands on a 1-hour Plodda Falls walk near inverness.   

Falls of Foyers 

The 140ft falls at Foyers have been famous since Victorian times – and inspired verses from Robert Burns and “Scotland’s worst poet” William McGonagall. There are well-made but very steep paths down to the viewing platforms for the falls.

Invermoriston Falls 

Visit these pretty falls by the roadside at Glenmoriston (also known as Invermoriston)

Craigmonie viewpoint at Drumnadrochit and the Divach Falls 

Climb up from Drumnadrochit on this ½ an hour walk through ancient oak woodlands to reach the dramatic Divach Falls walks near Inverness.

Dog Falls Glen Affric

Explore Glen Affric with a visit to the stunning Dog Falls and surrounding lochs and woodland on this 2 hour walk. You can also view the falls from the roadside. 

Rogie Falls  

Visit the impressive Rogie Falls on Blackwater River near Contin. Explore with this 1 hour Rogie Falls walk over a dramatic suspension bridge.

Loch Ness Walks – the Loch Ness 360

At 23 miles in length, Loch Ness is one of the biggest lochs in Scotland – and has miles of banks to explore. There are loads of Loch Ness walking trails, but the best way to see the loch is by hiking the 80 mile Loch Ness 360 trail – the whole route can be both walked and cycled in around a week or a series of walks near Inverness

The trail connects part of two Loch Ness walking routes – the 73 mile Great Glen Way and the 26.5 mile South Loch Ness Trail. You can also run the Loch Ness marathon along the spectacular South Loch Ness Trail.  The Loch Ness 360 trail can be walked in 6 sections: 

  • Inverness to Drumnadrochit – follow the Great Glen Way past the Ness Islands and Abriachan Woodlands to Loch Ness and Drumnadrochit (20 miles) 
  • Drumnadrochit to Invermoriston – follow the route alongside the loch with incredible water and mountain views below Meall na Sroine to the ‘Viewpoint Sculpture’ (14 miles) 
  • Invermoriston to Fort Augustus – head south along the loch to the busy town of Fort Augustus and its flight of canal locks (8 miles) 
  • Fort Augustus to Foyers – follow the South Loch Ness Trail past the lovely Loch Tarff to the Suidhe viewpoint to the the Whitebridge Hotel and down to the Falls of Foyers (15 miles) 
  • Foyers to Dores – continue on the South Loch Ness Trail past Inverfarigaig and the remains of Boleskine House, down towards one of the best viewpoints, the “Fair Haired Lad’s Pass” to the village of Dores where you will find the Nessie Hunter (13 miles) 
  • Dores to Inverness – return to the start of the Loch Ness 360 through the Torbreck Woods (10 miles)
Caledonian Canal Inverness walks

Fort Augustus Walks 

The pretty village of Fort Augustus is one of my favourite places in Scotland, and is a busy village filled with people enjoying cruises on the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, and sailing boats and cruisers traversing down five canal locks.

Explore Fort Augustus

There is much more to this village than a huge loch – did you know that Fort Augustus was once home to both the British army and Benedictine monks in the huge Abbey that sits on the edge of the Loch. 

Did you know that Fort Augustus was also a casualty of the Jacobite uprising? The village was actually named Cill Chuimein until General Wade built his ‘Fort Augustus’ to stop the Highlanders moving down the Great Glen and renamed the village. The name Cill Chuimein is still reflected in the village’s tiny burial ground on the Cullochy Estate.

Grab lunch at one of the canal-side pubs and cafes and watch the boaters ‘walking’ their boats through the locks.

Explore further on the Fort Augustus path.

Walk to Kytra Locks along the Caledonian Canal 

Follow the Caledonian Canal South to walk a short stretch of the Great Glen Way, a 3 mile round trip to the pretty and remote Kytra Locks.  The lock is a great spot for a picnic beside the canal as you watch the boats go past.

Find out more about the Caledonian Canal in my guide.

Allt na Criche 

Take a short but steep walk up from Fort Augustus through lovely woodlands following the Allt na Criche burn for one of the best views across Loch Ness – there is a bench at the top! Allow 1 hour for the walk up Allt na Criche.

Drumnadrochit Walks

Drumnadrochit is a small village and harbour on the west side of Loch Ness. Some of the most popular walks on Loch Ness start from Drumnadrochit and explore the woods around the loch.

Abriachan walks near Inverness

The community led Abriachan Forest Trust owns and manages 540 hectares of forest and open hill ground above Loch Ness which is run as a social enterprise with paths, family friendly mountain bike trails, and outdoor learning. There are even treehouses, traditional huts and shielings to find. Explore the Abriachan Forest on the milles of abriachan trails. This five mile/ Abriachan trail walk explores the woods and moreland owned by the Trust.

Meall Fuar – Mhonaidh

Looking for a good hillwalk with great views? Meall Fuar – Mhonaidh is the most prominent summit above Loch Ness and in good weather is a simple 5.5 mile / 4 hour walk up a Graham (699m height). If you haven’t done any hillwalking in Scotland before, read my beginner guide before you head up into the hills. 

Climb up the Corrieyairack Pass 

The Corrieyairack Pass is a remote pass across the 760m high Monadhliath Mountains from Laggan on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park to Fort Augustus. You can now walk or cycle the 25-mile pass along General Wade’s military roads with spectacular views of the Monadhliath Mountains. You don’t need to climb far up the pass from the village for an incredible view of the loch and Fort Augustus.

Inverness walks

Inverness walks

Inverness is the Highland capital of Scotland and is home to over 45,000 people. Here are my favourite walks around Inverness.

River Ness Walk and Inverness Castle

The city of Inverness is bisected by the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal. One of the best walks around Inverness is to take a stroll along the river, crossing back and forth across the bouncy suspension bridges for a view of the castle.

Sitting on the banks of the River Ness, Inverness Castle was built in the 1800s and now houses Inverness Sheriff Court. You can visit the castle grounds and the north tower which has a great viewpoint of Inverness. Inverness Castle is also the start of the famous North Coast 500!

The Ness Islands, Inverness

The Ness Islands are a ground of natural islands which sit in the middle of the River Ness in Inverness. Wind your way along the islands on a lovely hiking trail over a number of suspension bridges and spot the Nessie Sculpture.  Looking for the best Inverness walks? – this route explores the River Ness, the Ness Islands and the Caledonian Canal on a hiking trail from Inverness. 

Caledonian Canal and Dochgarroch Locks, Inverness

Explore the north end of the Caledonian Canal with this walk to the Dochgarroch Lochs from Inverness – there is always something to watch on the canal, from tourist cruisers to ships traversing the route and lots of wildlife to spot on one of my favourite walks around Inverness.

Craig Phadrig, Inverness

Visit an ancient fort above the city of Inverness on this short 1 mile walk in the Craigphadrig Forest with great views of the Beauly Forth over to Ben Wyvis. 

Day Walks in Scotland Inverness

Glen Strathfarrar / Glen Affric walks

Often pitted against each other for the title of Scotland’s most beautiful glen, Glen Affric and Glen Strathfarrr are located west of Loch Ness and just 20 minutes south of Inverness. If you fancy visiting Glen Affric, the Forestry Commission has a great guide to the area. Shorter walks in the glen include the Dog Falls (2 miles, 1.25 hours) and the Viewpoint Trail (1.45 miles, 1 hour).

Find out more in my guide to Glen Affric and Glen Strathfarrar.

The Glen Affric Trail 

The 11-mile circular path around Loch Affric must be one of Scotland’s most awe-inspiring walks. Amongst the remnants of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian Scots Pine forest, the walk takes you alongside the River Affric, past Loch Affric and Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhain amongst huge surrounding mountains. At the end of Glen Affric is the Athnamulloch Bothy, restored by the Trees for Life Project, and Strawberry Cottage, a mountain bothy managed by the An Teallach Mountaineering club. 

Glen Strathfarrar

To the north of Glen Affric by the village of Struy is Glen Strathfarrar. Unlike Glen Affric, the road into Glen Strathfarrar is private – ensuring that the glen remains remote and quiet. You can walk and cycle in Glen Strathfarrar all year round, but to drive in the glen you need a Glen Strathfarrar access permit – and only 25 cars are allowed in a day – but walkers are welcome. The road through the glen is 14 miles from gate to dam, making it perfect for a day walking or cycling trip.

Glen Strathfarra

Beauly walks

Five miles west of Inverness is the pretty village of Beauly with its ruined priory. Explore the area with these Beauly walks near Inverness.

Beauly River Walk

The best way to discover this area is to follow the gorgeous Beauly River on this 2 hour round trip stroll on its wooded banks. 

Ord ill, Muir of Ord

With incredible views across the Black Isle, Beauly and Cromarty, this short hillwalk climbs up above Muir Of Ord to a trig point on Cnoc Croit na Maoile. Visit Ord Hill

Reelig Glen Scotland 

Explore this steep wooded glen south of Beauly full of firs, cedars and spruces and find the 62m Dùghall Mòr (Big Douglas) which was once Britain’s tallest tree. Visit Reelig Glen.

Blackmuir Wood 

Explore these pretty woodlands near Beauly on a variety of hiking trails and visit the fascinating Touchstone Maze, a collection of ancient Scottish rocks.  The Touchstone Maze was created using 81 stones from quarries across the Highlands and Islands. Visit Blackmuir Wood.

Ready to go explore with my favourite Inverness walks?

Every time I leave Loch Ness, Inverness and Fort Augustus I leave a little piece of my heart behind. Get behind the scenes of the loch on one of these Inverness walks and I am sure you will too… 

Love, from Scotland x